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Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Our little club toured this lovely bed and breakfast.  The Slaton Harvey House is located at 400 Rail Road Street in Slaton, Texas.
This Fred Harvey Eating House was built in 1912 and has been renovated and made into a bed and breakfast or meeting house.  It is owned by a non-profit organization.
Here we are:  Linda, me, Vera Mae, Sylvia, Shirley, and Nell.

This is the news stand in the event area downstairs.  It is set up very similar to the way it was in 1912.
 Jessica Kelly was our guide and historian for the tour.  She is explaining the railroad system where all the Harvey Houses were located.  Thanks, Jessica, for a pleasant  and informative afternoon.
 This is the Pueblo Room, furnished with an antique bed, beautiful linens, and art.  This is the only room on the first floor.

 This chair has the original fabric that the Santa Fe Rail Road used and it is in the Pueblo Room.
 Shirley is looking at an all wood model train that was donated to the bed and breakfast.
 Fred Harvey was a perfectionist and made surprise visits to the various restaurants to make sure everything was up to snuff.  All of the china and flatware was branded with  "Fred Harvey".  The customers could put their orders in to the telegrapher who would relay the message and when the train arrived the food would be ready to be served.  They could be in and out in 20 minutes.  I read that the men had to wear a coat into the dining room.
 Each room has its own bathroom.
 This is the "commons" upstairs where the only TV is located.
 There are many games to play, all stored under this table.
 Vera, Sylvia, Nell and Jessica in the "commons".
 Books instead of TV.  And there is coffee for those who want to stay up late.
 Twin beds are in the Hopi Room.
 Comfy, over stuffed chair in the Hopi Room.

 The Zuni Room.
 Antique dresser in the Zuni Room.

 This little room with the twin bed is part of the Zuni Room.
 The Navajo Room.

 The Apache Room with a sleigh bed.
 The Apache Room.  All of the rooms here are named after an Indian tribe to go with the Santa Fe Rail Road theme.  Eventually, Fred Harvey had Indian wares for sale at some of the stops along the way to San Francisco.

 These are the uniforms the Harvey House girls work.  If they got something on the apron, they had to go change then.  The laundry was done somewhere else, and was part of the perks for the girls. The girls were expected to look sharp at all times.
 This is a rail road nail and the number on it  is for the year it was put in to service.  This one was 1932.
 Yes, they had lobster and sea food, all shipped in on the train.  And you could get an alcoholic drink every day except on Sunday.
 At first I thought the lamp shade had been broken, but this represents the situation in 1912.  One was electric and one was gas because electricity was unreliable and they needed gas as a backup--just in case.
 One of the stained glass windows is original and the rest are reproductions that look exactly like the original.

An example of beautiful period furniture in the Slaton Harvey House.
Fred Harvey was a true entrepreneur who saw an opportunity and took it.  I have read that he was Scottish.  He did emigrate from Liverpool England to New York City where he worked as a dishwasher.  He saved his money instead of blowing it on wild living, and used his cash to move to New Orleans where he worked in a restaurant and learned the business from the ground up.  In 1853 he moved to St. Louis, Missouri and six years later he and a partner opened a restaurant.  The Civil War broke out; his partner joined the Confederacy; business dried up and Fred went broke.  Fred took different jobs on riverboats, and worked in the post office at St. Joseph, Missouri.  He sorted mail for the first rail road post office in Leavenworth, Kansas.  During this time he got to see first hand how hideous the lunchrooms along the rail lines were.  The trains stopped about every hundred miles to take on water and coal or wood, and the hungry passengers had to hunt up a restaurant, get served, eat and be back before the train took off.  Some of the folks missed the train, of course.  Fred saw an opportunity, so he asked his manager about putting in a lunchroom at the rail road.  The myopic fool said, "No".  Then he had the opportunity to pitch the idea to Charles Morse who was superintendent of the AT&SF Rail Road, and who also like gourmet food.  Morse liked the idea and in 1876 Fred Harvey opened up the first Harvey House at Topeka, Kansas.  Harvey focused on cleanliness, great service, and reasonable prices.  The men he hired to work in the eateries were wild, and undependable.  One Harvey House didn't open one morning because the hands got drunk the night before and were  hung over, unable or unwilling to roll out and go to work.  Fred came up with the novel idea of hiring young ladies to work in the establishments.  These young ladies had to be single and remain single for the duration of their six month contract.  They had to have at least an eighth grade education, be articulate, neat and clean, and have spotless reputations and morals.  Harvey paid the rail fare to the place they chose to work, furnished the uniforms, laundry service, provided room and board, plus they got a monthly salary.  This was a real adventure for the girls and a new vocation at a time when the only respectable work was being a maid or teaching school.  Automobile travel, interstate roads that bypassed towns caused the Harvey Houses to gradually close.  Eighty-four houses were open at the peak of the business and only a few are still open for business.  Be on the lookout for these Harvey Houses during your travels of the Southwest:   La Fonda in Santa Fe,  Montezuma Castle, Las Vegas, New Mexico, La Posada Winslow, Arizona, El Tovar, Grand Canyon, Arizona.  Restoration is underway for La Casteneda in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Sunday, January 28, 2018


If I have time to kill when I go to Snyder, I walk over to the Whistle Stop or the Mason Jar and browse through their wares, but this time I decided to walk across the street and read the historical monument in front of the Scurry County Courthouse.
 J.Wright Mooar was an enterprising Yankee from Vermont who moved west so he could hunt buffalo and sell the hides.  He and his brother, John, had a camp in Scurry County, and in 1876 he shot an albino buffalo.  Only two have been killed in Texas.   
 This is the statue of the white buffalo that stands at the corner of the courthouse in Snyder.
 Mooar was a crack shot and could kill at 1000 feet or more.  He has the record of 22,000 buffalo, which is a lot of hides.  After his hunting days, he began ranching in this area in 1877.  This famous albino hide is still here in Snyder.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter in West Texas

We are dried out here at Jayton, and this is about all the moisture we have had this entire fall and winter.  Pray for rain!

 Don't you think winter has its own beauty?

 I have totally gotten out of the blogging habit, and I want to get back in to taking photos and writing.  Part of the problem is guilt!  Yes, I feel guilty sitting down to do a blog and take the time to go through photos, sort, delete, upload.  Part of it comes from having a fit bit, and now a watch that keeps track of my steps, standing, exercise, and heck, after I have sat and looked at Facebook for an hour, I just feel there is no more sitting time. That needs to change.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Crumpets and Tea, Huntington, West Virginia

I love tea rooms, and they are getting hard to find!  Is it any wonder?  Everyone is such a hurry, no time for tea, no time for living!  I will take time for tea.  Recently my husband and I moved (temporarily) to West Virginia for his job.  He works and I play.  I hunted all over Ashland, Kentucky for a tea room--no luck.  I did find this little place in Huntington, West Virginia.  Crumpets and Tea is located in the back of an antique store downtown Huntington.  What a delight this was.  I recommend this place to everyone.
 I always feel so special and pampered when I sit at a table like this.
 The decorations are so interesting, which makes the dining an experience.  I was in a graduate course at Sul Ross State University, and we had an owner of a guiding service at one of our meetings.  He said, "We are living in the 'experience' age.  People pay to have an experience.  People want to have supper under the stars in the bottom of a canyon with candles and table clothes."  He ran Big Bend River Tours out of Terlingua, Texas and gave people the experience of floating the Rio Grande, and probably dining under the stars.
 I could have the same food at a table outside of Sonic and it wouldn't be the same, because the eye appeal just isn't there under an umbrella outside Sonic drive in.
 It's fun watching the guests who came in to dine.  I couldn't take any photos of them, of course.  I wish I could have taken one of the man sitting at this table.  He had on a grey suit with a blue tie, and he sat ram-rod straight.  He had the whitest hands I have ever seen.  I know those hands never did a moment of physical anything, except put on clothing, brush his teeth and comb his hair!  If he had to change a flat tire, he would have never lived through it.  I marveled at how daintily he handled his fork, taking little bits of bread pudding on the end of the utensil.  See eating at a tea room is more than food.  I love it.
 Karen has her business organized, and she makes the most of the small space she has for food prep and service.  She says the best part of the business is meeting people.  The hardest part is doing big functions (they do special meals for whatever reason).  And Karen says in order to start something like this you need capital to support yourself.  You cannot expect to draw a big salary from the tea room right away.  Hire local experts for things you cannot do.  Remember,  you have to have permits in these large places, probably not in Jayton, Texas, but Huntington, yes.
 Just a little glimpse of the kitchen area.
 Meet the owners, Karen and Dr. Dale Shook.  Dr. Dale grew up in Illinois, and Karen in Indiana.  She says they have the same work ethic--mid-western.  I have one regret--I didn't really get to talk to these two people the way I would like to.  They are  so interesting!  They  worked in Saudi Arabia for six years, spent time working in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and then to top it off they they owned and operated the Wayside Inn and Bed and Breakfast in Saratoga Springs, New York.  They also had a tea room to go with it.  I want to sit down with them, and have them regale me with tales of their adventures.  Karen and Dr. Dale have four children, five grand children in Huntington, one in Vermont, and two in Virginia.  I do hope I get to talk to these folks in depth.  In fact I think a pod cast would be good!

Sunday, September 4, 2016


In a little town called Milton, West Virginia is Blenko Glass Company, which has been in business since 1893.  The plant has been in Milton since 1921 Just take a look at all this beauty.  I couldn't stop taking pictures because I love color.

I just had to have one of these tree ornaments.  The hard part was deciding which one!

It was lunch time when I went out to the working area but the ovens were blazing.

So, I went to the glass garden.
Jennifer Pitcher I took this one especially for you.  It is all blue glass.
I decided that this garden would not work in West Texas because we would get a hail that would break everything!

Here we are back in the workshop.  These have something to do with molds.
These are molds.

The were giving a tour and this lady is about to blow this piece of molten glass.
Shaping the ball.
Here she goes.  She blew to expand the glass.
Then they put that glass in a mold and she blew more to expand the glass to fit the mold.
She is marking the neck of shape with a metal instrument.
This is a wet wooden paddle.  It was dripping with water.
I didn't get a picture of it, but another man brought a small molten ball of glass over and stuck it to the bottom of this vase.  Now, she will break off the neck and the man on the left will carry the glass back to the furnace for more firing.
Some of the Blenko glass on display.
Founder, William Blenko was born in London, England December 8, 1854.  His parents were working class people not wealthy by any means.  William was interested in glass making so his mother encouraged him to pursue his  passion (wise mother).  William went to work for a glass craftsman.  In the 1880s he went in to business for himself making round glass window panes.  When he was 38 years old he made a move to New York City to learn about natural gas, and started one of the first gas fueled glass factories in the U.S.  Even though he produced superior glass, craftsmen would not buy it because they wanted European glass.  William went back to England to produce the same glass and sell to U.S.  Later he moved back to Indiana and then set up his business in Milton, West Virginia because there was a good, sober, hardworking labor force there.  Blenko glass is still in the family and Walter Blenko Jr., grandson of the founder, is president of the company.
I love this story!  What perseverance and risk taking it is, and Wm Blenko realized the American dream through his hard work, and chasing his passion.  That is what it takes, so go out there and get to work on what you are passionate about.